Monday, March 14, 2011

Americans are more restrictionist than South Koreans

A reader asserted that Europeans and especially East Asians are more skeptical about immigration than Americans. Using World Values Survey data, I put together a table of percentages (they total 100 across the rows). Each country has at least 1,000 cases.

The percent wanting strict limits is a good column to focus on. The only countries with a higher share in this column are New Zealand and Japan. Finland is about the same as the U.S. America is more conservative than eight out of nine European countries and one out of two Asian countries. Believe it or not, the U.S. is more restrictionist than South Korea. No country in the list has a higher percentage of prohibitionists than the United States.

Next, I'll limit the analysis to elites.


  1. Flat-on comparisons on this are tricky. There are important differences between how different groups will interpret and answer a question like this.

    In South-Korea's case:
    1.) Mass migration is not a real issue, non-Oriental immigrants are yet a very tiny share of population. Thus, asking the question there is not the same as asking it in Europe or USA.

    2.) South-Korea's primary "migration" issue is the question of allowing-in overseas Koreans (and granting them extensive privileges), who are numerous. Some oppose this, though most support it on kinship grounds. This could explain some of the apparent "support for migration".


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